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Magpul On The Devils River

As most people know, Texas is geographically the second largest state in our country. Its immense size means that there’s more to see and do than the average human can imagine. The Lone Star State also holds a few remote, wild, and special places closely to its chest, away from the eyes of the civilized world and known only to a small and devoted group of enthusiasts and conservationists.

The Devils River is one of those wild places. The 100% spring-fed Devils River is located at the convergence of three ecoregions – the Tamaulipan Brush Country, Chihuahuan Desert and Edwards Plateau. It’s a clean, clear 60-mile strip of pristine, limestone-filtered water that cuts through a hostile and extremely remote environment. Formed by a handful of delicate small springs, it’s a life-giving provider located in the middle of an arid desert.

As one of the best kept secrets in Texas, it’s only traversed by a few adventurous paddlers, local residents, and in-the-know anglers. The unspoiled Devils is steeped in history and has provided a welcome oasis for humans in the area for thousands of years, as evidenced by the ancient pictographs on the cliffs along its banks. As America expanded and settlers headed west, it became an important stop for frontier travelers looking for water, and they followed its banks as far as possible before breaking off into the rugged desert.
Plateau on the River
Big Skies and Clear Water
The Devils River is so pristine that it’s considered the benchmark for water quality in Texas. This is in part due to the lack of human encroachment that limits pollution. Gravel, sand, and limestone filtered cold spring water give the river its legendary clarity and cleanliness on its journey towards the Amistad Reservoir.
Canoeing the Devils River
Canoeing the Devils River
We were fortunate enough to join Mike Naccarato—a veteran Big Bend river guide who runs Far West Texas Outfitters—on a guided trip this year. Mike’s one of a small group of outfitters who are allowed to work the Devils, offering multi-day trips via kayak or canoe down the river. The ride is a sporty paddle experience with plenty of opportunities to experience whitewater, so anyone planning a trip there absolutely must do their homework. There’s no rescue for miles, and visitors must get a permit for an extended, multi-day paddling trip. The fishing is legendary on the Devils; the crystal-clear water means you can see the fish before you cast (a rarity in Texas). Largemouth and smallmouth bass are aggressive and abundant, ancient gar and carp populate the deeper regions, and catfish patrol at night. River knowledge is a must and everything is packed in and packed out. A guided trip is the only way to really experience all the Devils has to offer, and fewer than one thousand people are able to make the trek each year. To learn more, head over to www.farwesttexasoutfitters.com.

“The Devils is one of our last truly wild and pristine rivers left in Texas, and it’s remained that way because of its remoteness and the staunch character of its stewards.”

In Search of Fish
In Search of Fish
Wet Dogs
Wet Dogs
Catch of the Day
Catch of the Day
As Texas continues to grow and more outdoor enthusiasts learn about the opportunities for adventure on the Devils, the emerging role of conservation and river management has become a vital part of protecting the river’s character and quality for ourselves and generations to come. The impact of unregulated recreation, industrial energy production, and the endless freshwater needs of Texas’ cities and farms all pose a threat to this sensitive and unique waterway. The Devils River Conservancy was born out of that need to protect this river. Through education, research and advocacy, the DRC works at the grassroots and legislative level to protect the Devils and keep one of the last truly wild places in Texas the same as it has been for thousands of years. If you’d like to support their efforts, you can learn more at: www.devilsriverconservancy.org.

If you’re lucky enough to get the chance, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You’ll get feel for what the great state of Texas was like before it was out, bought, sold and tamed. You’re also guaranteed to get wet, but that’s definitely not a bad thing when the water is from the Devils River.

A Friend of the Devils
A Friend of the Devils

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